In the promised land

Rift Valley Lakes

United in Kenya

Eldoret – Mara West

Marsabit Camp Henry

Masai Mara & Nairobi

Lake Turkana Adventure

Amboseli – Diani Beach

In the “promised” land

On October 31, 2020, we can finally leave Ethiopia and enter Kenya. The check-in at the immigration office in a new and well-kept building is professional and friendly. The customs officers are very helpful in clearing the vehicle. We can pay the amount for the road toll to an employee who is prepared to forward it to customs for us via his mobile phone. Everything is above board and we also receive a correct receipt.

It is now evening and the sun will soon set. The Anglican Church has a guest house just a few hundred meters from customs. Here we are allowed to stand in the front garden for the night. Not for free, of course, and the price has to be negotiated. A wonderful Saturday evening.
We breathe a sigh of relief – we feel free again. For us, Kenya is like the promised land where we want to go – and now we are there.
(Whether this remains the case remains to be seen, of course)

Today is Sunday and most of the stores are closed. It also starts to rain and the sky is overcast. As we still have enough diesel, we decide to continue straight to Marsabit. On the way to Marsabit we pass through many military checkpoints, but are not bothered. “Where from” and “where to” is usually enough. Our truck is not searched at customs or here on the road. Despite the defective spring and careful driving, we cover the 250 km to Marsabit with ease.

In Marsabit we drive to “Camp Henry”. Henry is (already) an older semester. He came to Marsabit decades ago with an aid organization, fell in love with a Kenyan woman, got married and stayed. Henry’s dialect gives him away immediately – he comes from Basel. Together with his wife Rosanna, he has built up a small construction business and also runs a small camp that is well-known among Overlanders passing through. We experience another beautiful, sunny evening and enjoy a cold beer for dinner for the first time in a long time.

A strong wind blows in Marsabit. That would be bearable, but the fog and rain are getting to us. And since Marsabit is apparently a “restricted zone”, we can’t buy a SIM card here either. We therefore decide to leave earlier than planned and cycle the 500 km to Nairobi. The further we get away from Marsabit, the nicer the weather becomes. We immerse ourselves in magnificent landscapes, which we have unfortunately not photographed enough.

We need just under two days to cover the distance from Marsabit to Nairobi. While the volume of traffic and the local roads up to Isiolo were moderate and pleasant, the traffic increases constantly up to Nairobi and countless risky overtaking maneuvers by Kenyans require our utmost concentration.

One such fellow countryman deliberately tries to bump into us from the side. Since we get away with a few minor scratches and realize that he probably wants to repair his already badly dented vehicle to our disadvantage, we just drive on, because it wasn’t us who hit him – we were driving correctly behind a slow truck – but he hit us.

Jungle Junction Nairobi

Nairobi’s “Jungle Junction” is a well-known destination for overlanders. Vehicles can also be parked here for longer periods. The owner “Chris” is German and also came to Kenya through an aid organization and has “stuck” here. He advised us in advance about the itinerary and now we are getting to know each other personally.
The jungle hub of Nairobi is currently not very busy due to coronavirus. Where there is usually a lot of traveling going on, it is now quiet. What’s more, the rainy season is still not over.

We get reinforced springs…

In Addis Ababa, we discovered that one of our leaf springs on the rear axle had broken. We show Chris the damage and it soon becomes clear that not only does the broken spring leaf need to be replaced, but that our leaf springs on the rear axle need to be reinforced.

The next day, the two spring assemblies for the rear axle are removed and delivered to the local (Indian) company Chui – Federn in Nairobi in the evening. A top modern company with good facilities that specializes in leaf springs.

After just one and a half days, we receive the newly aligned, repaired and supplemented springs back. We decided to replace the spring assembly with two additional spring leaves in the hope that they would carry us through to South Africa and beyond, because the original MAN spring assembly, which was supposed to carry 8 to 10 tons per side, proved to be definitely inadequate with a constant weight of around 8 tons on the rear axle.
Installation takes a good two days, as the various screws still need to be carefully tightened with a torque wrench.
The vehicle is now around 5 to 6 cm higher at the rear, which is why the load-dependent brake force regulator on the rear axle also had to be readjusted.

United in Kenya

On December 15 – one day before the new lockdown in Germany – we fly together from Zurich to Nairobi. At the end of November, I decided without further ado to pick up my beloved in Switzerland so that we could start again together in Kenya. In the meantime, she was discharged early because the healing process of her shoulder was progressing so quickly and the physiotherapist recorded exercises for her on video, which she can continue to do on the trip.
We had the required Covid test in our bag, as well as the eVisa for Kenya – and of course excess baggage again.

The health checks and customs clearance in Kenya were perfectly organized. Our Covid tests were accepted straight away and after about 45 minutes we were in the parking lot in front of the airport where our cab was waiting. When we think of the chaos before our departure in Frankfurt, which resulted in a whole hour’s delay, we can only praise the Kenyans. They have done their job.

We meet our MAN at the Jungle Junction campsite in top condition. In the meantime, the rainy season has weakened and Chris has had our Carnet de Passage, which would have expired on January 1, 2021, stamped in and out at the Kenyan Automobile Club. All that remains now is to take out new COMESA liability insurance, which expires on January 13, 2021, load our luggage, get the vehicle ready for our onward journey, go shopping and plan our itinerary, because
We would like to spend Christmas with giraffes and elephants

On Monday, December 21, we make our way north. Our first destination is the SAMBURU National Reserve. First we drive past MAN Nairobi to have the oil changed. But far from it, the gentlemen are already on Christmas vacation. This may also explain why it takes us several hours to get out of the city. We spend the night at the Havila Resort, which is located on the Mathioya River and whose campsite is directly on the white water and can also be reached by larger vehicles.

We cross the equator at Nanyuki. The A2 leads up to 2500m on the western flank of Mounta Kenya and then drops by around 1700m within about 50 km. This also changes the temperature and we reach the Samburu Reserve at a good 30°, where we are allowed to park in the parking lot free of charge for the night.

Samburu National Reserve

The Samburu National Reserve is situated in a dry area, on the land of the Samburu tribe and is about 165 km2 in size, but is connected to the Buffalo Springs Reserve of about the same size on the other side of the Ewaso Ngiro River, which carries water all year round.

The park rangers at the gate are very friendly, even cordial, and let you negotiate the price with them. We get a discount, but the entrance fee is still overpriced. We book three days and nights at the park’s public campsite, right on the river. In the picture below: the nice 25-year-old park ranger named Eunice.

Christmas among elephants …

On the very first day, we are “caught” in the middle of a herd of elephants. Around us, elephants eating peacefully and without any aggression. Elephants need between 100 and 300 kilograms of plant matter from grasses, shrubs and trees every day. They are therefore busy eating for up to 17 hours a day. No wonder they ignore us and hardly take any notice of us. The elephants radiate a great sense of calm – we also become calm and can simply enjoy our time with the herd.

… and net giraffes

The Samburu Reserve is home to a sizeable population of reticulated giraffes. The pattern of their fur looks like a net – hence the name. Giraffes are generally shy – these ones here in the Samburu Reserve seem to be even shyer. As soon as we approach, they change direction – away from us. They are a subspecies of the “northern giraffe” and belong to the “giraffe-like” family – no wonder! They grow up to 560 cm high and weigh up to around 900 kg. With their long legs, they strut through the savannah at a leisurely pace – and thanks to their long legs, they make quite rapid progress. Watching them is great fun. If you discover one, more and more giraffes suddenly appear, which were previously invisible behind a tree, harvesting the branches with their up to 40cm long tongues.

Experience nature

We are at our campsite on the banks of the river. A cracking and rustling sound! In fact, a bull elephant right behind us has violently pulled down a branch full of precious greenery and is twisting and turning it to get at the precious greenery – just a few meters away from our MAN. A powerful experience.

In addition to river-crossing elephants, spitting bucks, impala gazelles, round-eared zebras, colonies of silky guinea fowl and an African spotted eagle, we also discover the funny giraffe gazelle. Yes, and that’s the end of it, because unfortunately we couldn’t spot any lions, cheetahs or leopards – perhaps because more local visitors were flocking to the national reserve every day to spend Christmas here.

Samburu Reserve to Marsabit Video Impressions


Around 220 km to the north lies the last outpost – the large village of “Marsabit” with around 20,000 inhabitants. That’s where we go on December 27, to Camp Henry, a small campsite run by “Henry” from Basel, who has lived here for decades and is married to a Kenyan woman.

We immediately carry out the necessary work on the vehicle – for example, our dipped and main beam headlights are no longer on. Therefore, all sources of error are systematically investigated ….
Will it be a good idea for an office whiz like me to tackle the electrics? In any case, I dare to take the instrument panel apart to check whether the light switch might be defective.
Now that all the fuses, switches and connections in the dashboard have been checked – and the main light is still not on – there is only one conclusion: the relay must be broken. We take an “African approach” and leave it alone, because the fog lights, tail lights and position lights are still working.

Water purification system

Since Sudan, our much appreciated water purification system has been defective! Probably caused by the muddy water in Sudan, our water purification reactor MR 45/60 would need cleaning, which is why it can no longer be switched on.
We have to realize that our sediment filter from “Lilie” does not reliably retain the sediments, because we also find coarser suspended particles in the downstream activated carbon filter.
The biggest problem, however, is that the water purification reactor, which has to be cleaned regularly (about once a year), has been installed in such a way that I have to dismantle the entire system in order to access this device.

While still in Ethiopia, I dismantle the entire water purification system and roughly plan the conversion of the system. As far as we have internet, I also look for new and of course better water filters and order what we need.
We take the water purification reactor with us to Switzerland and the noble inventor of it – I-B-H Technologie in Bavaria – takes care of the device personally and free of charge, maintains it and also gives us a new control unit. Generous and friendly – thank you very much!

We take all the components required for the conversion with us in our hand luggage on the flight to Addis Ababa, including the required boards….

The new arrangement is the same as the one I once suggested to the person who fitted out our cabin. As space is very limited, I have to tinker for days and pre-assemble everything outside the vehicle to avoid any unpleasant surprises afterwards. A new water pump will also be installed that no longer requires an expansion tank – this should be quieter than the previously installed industrial pump. Of course, we also descaled and disinfected the water tanks.
In the meantime we have been on the road for two weeks with the new water purification system and many kilometers of it on bad corrugated iron and over creek bed-like slopes – and the new water purification system works perfectly, we are very happy about it.

Camp Henry & Rosanna

Camp Henry” is well-known among Overlanders. Henry from Basel came to Marsabit over 40 years ago as an aid worker – eventually he started a family and married his Rosanna.
Rosanna runs the camp, which is not only a place for Overlanders to stay, but is also available for business meetings and family celebrations.
Henry himself is the owner of a small construction company with 10 to 12 employees, which generally builds single-storey houses in the greater Marsabit area. Not only is the house built, but the roof beams are welded, the concrete slabs are poured and even chairs and beds are made in the company’s own carpentry workshop.

We spend a total of four and a half weeks in Marsabit and by the end we are almost part of the family. In any case, we have grown fond of Henry and Rosanna and are therefore leaving Marsabit with a teary eye. Thank you both for your hospitality!

Lake Turkana

Marsabit – Kalacha

The road we chose to Lake Turkana leads 300 km through the desert. The first 140 km stage to Kalacha is very rough and washed out in places, leading over coarse gravel and stones, so that the average speed drops to 15 km per hour. In the middle third, however, we cross a coarse sand / fine gravel plain and even after that there are sections that allow a slightly faster pace, which is why we still reach Kalacha on the same day.


Yesterday we met Henry again on his way home from the building site in Kalacha. There, he and his team are building a country-style cottage for an elderly lady who has rendered outstanding services to the community. Henry planned the little house very cleverly himself. We are allowed to visit the construction site and are impressed by the quality of the work.

The area from Marsabit to Kalacha and beyond is home to the Gabbra tribe, a peaceful and friendly people of camel nomads who live in simple round huts that they can quickly demolish and load onto their camels.

The Kalacha Oasis is located a little south of the village. Water bubbles up to the surface there, coming from underground streams from the surrounding volcanic fields.

Kalacha – North Horr

The 70 km or so from Kalacha to North Horr are an imposition. Heavy, deep corrugated iron of the worst kind challenges our nerves and our vehicle. In the rear-view mirror I see the battery cover fly off – fortunately it is undamaged and we can secure it with an additional strap.

North Horr – Lake Turkana

There are still about 90 km to go to Lake Turkana. After North Horr, you have to cross the stream of the local oasis, which carries little water. Probably a somewhat more daring undertaking in the rainy season. Many crossings of dry rivers follow, often with impressive camel thorn trees in their “stream beds”. The passages are either concreted in one lane or lead through packed sand or gravel. Although the track is often only one lane and often no more than a dirt road, this route is much more pleasant to drive on. We also like the landscape better here. The first half leads through endless fine gravel plains, then slowly into a volcanic valley and finally over a small pass road to Lake Turkana.


Loiyangalani is located in the southern quarter of Lake Turkana, also known as the Jade Sea because of its blue-green color. The lake is a good 250 km long and up to 50 km wide and slightly salty. Clever climate specialists predicted that the lake would dry out, but the opposite is the case. Henry has been following the seasonal cycles for over 40 years now and says that there are also 10-year, 20-year and other cycles during which it is normal for the lake level to fall or rise again.

The next day Esther & Thomas join us with their MAN “Muck”. The two have been on the road since 2014, initially for several years in the Far East. Together we “hang” in the shade with the best sea visibility and around 38°. An often strong wind makes the temperatures bearable during the day and at night.
The El Molo tribe, who live from fishing, live along the lake. It is the smallest tribe in Kenya and is increasingly mixing with other tribes. The El Molo on “our” stretch of beach don’t want to have their picture taken. This also applies to other tribes. So it’s better to ask and then refrain from taking photos if necessary.

After four days, we move to the Palm Shade Lodge and are allowed to stand in the beautiful garden, surrounded by palm trees swaying in the wind. Here we can also fill up our water tanks and order a cold beer in the evening.


Samburu, El Molo and Turkana live on the south-eastern shore of Lake Turkana. Today we have the opportunity to visit a Turkana tribe and gain an insight into their everyday life.

The Turkana still live largely as traditional nomads and keep camels, zebu cattle, sheep and goats, which provide them with milk, blood and meat as food. In their oral tradition, they refer to themselves as “the people of the grey bull”, after the zebu, whose domestication played a major role in their history. Cattle also serve as a form of currency for negotiating a bride price and as a dowry. This makes them direct competitors to the Samburu, with whom there are repeated armed conflicts over grazing areas.

Among the Turkana, the men are responsible for the community and the animals – the women for the household, for water and wood – and for building houses.
They demonstrate how they build a round hut. First, side wall elements are woven from palm leaves and sticks, then tied together with fibers from branches in a circle in a small hollow and finally covered and planked with skins and cloths.

If the ladies and gentlemen are rather shy and dismissive at first, they gradually “thaw out” and we can elicit a smile from them.
But it gets funny at the end. During the final work on the round hut, one or the other begins to sing a song. We respond with applause for the completed hut and also return the favor with two songs. The Turkana women immediately begin to sway to the rhythm of our national anthem and “Äs Buure Büebli mahni nit…” and try to sing along. Joy and laughter – next time we will deliver our show at the beginning to thaw the “ice”…

Loiyangalani – Maralal

The two hot nights with little wind make it easier for us to say goodbye to Loiyangalani. The C77 runway is in good condition and runs along the lake. Then it’s up the mountain on a concrete ramp to a plateau around 900m. We drive up to the largest wind farm in Kenya. Swathes of migratory locusts again and again.
South Horr lies in a water-rich valley between steep mountain sides. The road now crosses many smaller and larger watercourses and is sandy and later stony again. At an altitude of around 1300m and with a magnificent mountain panorama, we are allowed to spend the night at a police checkpoint.
The checkpoint was built to keep the warring Samburu and Turkana apart. “Kenya is a country of freedom,” says one of the policemen. “Here you can settle wherever you want”.

Thomas and Esther are a day ahead of us. They tell us about shootings between Baragoi and Maralal. We therefore drive the 120 km from our overnight accommodation without spending another night in one day.
Up to the junction with the C79, the road is quite good. We can only drive slowly, as the road constantly leads over rock slabs, but the jolting is limited.
From this junction and up to the highest point, about 23 km before Maralal, the road is a real slog. It is often so washed out that only driving at walking pace or even slower (with off-road gear reduction) is an option (unfortunately no photos). Finally, it starts to drizzle and the track, which turns into a side road on the hill, becomes slippery in places. We gratefully reach Maralal Safari Camp and are glad to have arrived here safely.

Lake Turkana Video Impressions


Before we continue our journey, we take advantage of the modest opportunities for shopping in the supermarket. Maralal is the capital of the Samburu tribe. The Samburu are related to the Maasai who live further south.
As I pull out my smartphone to take a picture, the numerous “beggars” scurry away.
In addition to vegetables and fruit, we also need yogurt. This stands unrefrigerated on the supermarket shelves. Fortunately, a delivery of fresh yogurt arrives, not in a refrigerated truck either, but still. We buy from them and have not regretted it.

Lake Baringo

From Maralal we drive for kilometers on a bumpy track next to a wonderful new road that is almost finished. From Mugie, the D370 leads via Tangulbei to Lake Baringo. The road is miserable over long stretches and we wouldn’t want to drive it in the rainy season. Fortunately, it hasn’t rained since yesterday and the gravel and earth band is reasonably dry.

Like Lake Turkana, Lake Baringo is also located in the East African Rift Valley. Three tectonic plates are supposed to collide here, which according to “scholars” are moving; the African, the Somali and the Arabian plate. Wikipedia still states in part that the lakes in the rift valley tend to dry out. That has long since become obsolete. The lakes are all overflowing their banks.

Lake Baringo had an area of 168 km2, today it is about 1.5 times as large. Its water level has risen by 7 to 12 meters in recent years, devastating many houses, hospitals, churches and hotel complexes.
This is not why we visit Lake Baringo on our trip, but because it is said to be famous for its abundance of birds. That’s why we also book a two-hour boat tour on the lake. Of course we see some birds, but we are rather disappointed, as the changes to the lake have obviously also affected the birdlife. The buildings sinking into the water are also gloomy to look at. We only stay three nights and drive on to Lake Bogoria.

Lake Bogoria

Lake Bogoria lies about 50 km east of Lake Baringo. It is a strongly alkaline soda lake. The lake is known for its abundance of birds, numerous geysers and thermal springs. We travel to Lake Bogoria because we hope to see the thousands of flamingos on its shores.
But we are greeted by a bleak picture. Many flamingo corpses lie on and next to the access road, which is now flooded. The ranger station is almost completely under water and has already had to be relocated twice. So the same picture here too – flooded banks.

There are two reasons for the flamingo dying:

  1. The additional water diluted the sodium bicarbonate content, which in turn affected the flamingos’ food, causing them to become ill and eventually die, as their former feeding areas were now too deep underwater.
  2. The shallow areas are no longer accessible. The flamingos have to stay close to the shore. As the African bush with its thorny plants grows right up to the lake, flamingos get caught on the thorns when taking off and landing and thus perish.

At least we find a nice place to spend the night on a small platform above the lake and enjoy the romantic evening and morning hours.


In Kenya, paying for services with a smartphone is widespread. The system of “our telephone company Safaricom” is called M-Pesa and seems to dominate the market. At the ticket office for the entrance to the Lake Bogoria Reserve, Mrs. Mesa wants us to pay with M-Pesa. However, we have only loaded a small amount onto the M-Pesa account, so this is not enough to pay. Next option: Payment by credit card. Unfortunately, this is also not possible because the transmission device was not connected to the power supply and the battery was therefore empty and there was no power to charge it. Last option: Payment in US$ and cash.
But before that, we are still negotiating hard about the price. 50$ per person, 15$ for the overnight stay per person and another 30$ for the vehicle. In the end, we get the student rate, which is a little cheaper.

Trip to ITEN

The two Rift Valley lakes lie at an altitude of around 1000m. On a never-ending winding mountain road, we first climb up to Kabarnet at an altitude of over 2000m with a beautiful viewpoint from where we can see Lake Baringo again in the thick haze.
Then a steep descent into the Kerio Valley (1100m) and finally 1200m back up to ITEN, the upper edge of the rift valley at 2300m altitude.
We stop twice on the way to buy fruit and vegetables. The women on the roadside are extremely friendly and are visibly happy about the sale. They would have loved to sell us the chicken too – they would have slaughtered and plucked it for us on the spot.

If we had to call one of the women here “Mama Africa”, it would be this grandmother. Her face has not become hard from the hard life of a woman, as is the case with many. There is still a certain kindness and motherliness reflected in her face.


Iten has a favorable climate and income, as not only local long-distance runners train here, but also many athletes from all over the world. Kenyans, Russians, Czechs, Swiss …. The wealthier of them stay at the “Kerio View Hotel”, where overlanders can park for free in the parking lot as long as they have a meal in the restaurant. The hotel is run by a Belgian, but he is not present today.
We are treated to a magnificent view of the Kerio Valley, despite the haze. See the 180° panorama below.

From Eldoret to the Masai Mara

Camp Naiberi

18 km east of Eldoret lies the beautiful and well-organized campsite “Naiberi”. We receive a warm welcome from the friendly, helpful and competent receptionist.
In Eldoret, we are able to do some good shopping in a large supermarket for the first time in a long time. Finally yogurt, butter, salami etc. again.
And because it’s so good to be here, Thomas and Esther join us with their blue MAN. We are concerned about the loss of oil on the planetary gearbox of the front right wheel. Thomas, an experienced truck driver and repairman, inspects the front axle bleeder line – but we don’t find any problems. After we discover that the oil level in the planetary gearbox is at an acceptable level, we are reasonably reassured.

Over the Nandi Hills to Lake Victoria

From Eldoret, the route surprisingly follows a good side road through the Nandi Hills. In the Nandi Hills, at an altitude of around 200 meters, the tea plantations cannot be overlooked – after the Nandi Hills, sugar cane plantations predominate.
Finally, another pleasant tarred road leads to Homa Bay, a bay on Lake Victoria. Here we are allowed to stand on the lawn at the“Homa Bay Tourist Hotel“. It is always noticeable that people in Kenya are happy to have guests. Business has not been so natural since the coronavirus outbreak. We are now benefiting from this.
Unfortunately, a thick haze hovers over Lake Victoria and there are no beautiful moods. In addition, our “timetable” is pressing us – we have to have our visas extended in Nairobi, because in Eldoret we were told at immigration that it was still too early for the extension…

From Migori to the Masai Mara

We spend the night at the “Maranatha Gospel Mission”, which is run by a Swedish missionary society, before tackling the 70 km of dirt and gravel road to Mara West the next day.
From the “outside”, this mission station looks quite romantic and straightforward. The person responsible for visitors demanded that we pay 5000 Kenyan shillings (equivalent to about US$47) for a night on their premises. Oops, they are obviously used to receiving large donations from Europe. At good campsites in Kenya we usually didn’t have to pay more than KES 2000, sometimes even less.
During our arrival, one of those hour-long services is also taking place in the church. Loud, but still reasonably melodious songs. The volume steadily increased, however, and eventually the “church music” turned into rapturous screams and overloud croaking, the loudspeakers overlapped and we no longer felt comfortable at all in this feel-good area. So for us it would be clear. Not a cent of our money would go here.

It rained during the night. Since Eldoret we have noticed more frequent rain and the weather forecast also indicates rain. The swollen Migori River shows that the rainy season must have already started here. Drizzle sets in again about halfway along the route. After the village of Lolgorien, we have to cross the first mud hole. We first drive sideways, then want to drive up into the middle of the road, but simply slide straight ahead and end up in a precarious position. There is no point in complaining about the situation. I have to get back into the MAN and reverse carefully. On the second attempt we make it (unfortunately no picture due to excitement). From now on, the route is good, the locals tell us. But more muddy passages follow and it’s particularly important not to slip sideways – otherwise we’re done for. In the worst two passages, locals help us, walk with us and show us the way – and they were right – right through the mud.

Mara West Lodge & Camp

High above the Masai Mara lies the Mara West Camp, run by an American family; the wife with Swiss roots has just completed her master’s degree in obstetrics. She runs a women’s clinic nearby for the local population – the Masai women – who have a particularly difficult lot to bear.
We feel so comfortable here that we stay for 10 days. Zebras graze around us and even giraffes dare to come near us. The receptionist is always up for a quick chat – there are hardly any guests – and the view of the Masai Mara is stunning. Below us we observe (with binoculars) giraffes, elephants, buffaloes, zebras and impalas.

Masai Mara

Although the entrance fees to the Kenyan parks are much cheaper than those in Tanzania, the entrance fee for the Masai Mara is still “respectable”. As the Masai Mara is administered by the Maasai, the government price reduction does not apply here.

  • US$ 70
    Admission per person and 24 hours

  • US$ 30
    Camping per person and night (no facilities, only a place where you can stand)

  • US$ 25
    Vehicle fee for 24 hours.

We decide to take two 24-hour trips, but only enter the park in the afternoon so that we can spread the 48 hours over three days instead of two. That makes US$ 550.

Day 1

After entering, in the afternoon of the first day, we observe the hippos at a small pond. This is followed by elephants on the “River Road” and, in particular, young and older giraffes. Buffalo are also occasionally found here. Topi antelopes lie or graze on clear grassy areas and finally we find our “campsite” on a small rise with a view over the grassland. A beautiful day, but without any real highlights, apart from the hippos.

Day 2

We start our tour shortly before sunrise. We drive back west on the “River Road”. First we encounter a determined lioness, then a hippopotamus grazes in the tall grass and a small herd of elephants moves leisurely through the savannah. We see small herds of impala, hyenas lying lazily in the sun, king cranes strutting along the road.
As it keeps raining here, we don’t dare turn off onto narrower paths. We also feel that a guide would be valuable here in the Masai Mara. In addition, due to the frequent rain this year, the savannah grass is particularly high, which is why many herds feel unsafe and migrate to higher areas – with the predators naturally following behind.

The afternoon brings us a herd of buffalo. Not without danger, these animals. They belong to the Big Five. But beautiful is something else. Then a giraffe waddles in front of us and an exhausted and disheveled old male lion lies in the ditch. Did he have a fight with the lioness guarding her cubs a little further away? Unfortunately, they are too far away for a good picture – or we simply don’t have the right lens!
Then we see grass, grass, endless grass. This grass savannah is beautiful.

Day 3

We spend our second night at a private campsite near the gate on the Mara River. In front of us, a pool in the river with huge crocodiles and squabbling hippos. We spend the whole morning at this pool and enjoy the life of these not very friendly animals. We then receive a free transit ticket to get to the east of the Masai Mara. In Talek we spend a few more nights at the campsite of Aruba Mara Camp, which is run by a German lady. The facility seems less well maintained and the staff are not particularly motivated – but perhaps this is also due to the Corona period. And as you can see – a thunderstorm every evening. This means soggy slopes, which are better for skiing than riding. So we hurry and take the opportunity to get to Nairobi.


Visa extension

Our first task is to extend our visas. Our cab driver Ruth gets us into the city easily. She knows her way around immigration. The application should be submitted online, but what can you do if the system simply doesn’t work? Ruth knows what to do here too. We go to an inconspicuous little shop. A young guy fills out the forms for us online and hands us the printouts for a small fee. After that, it’s just a case of waiting – an employee from another department can go behind the counter at immigration by virtue of his position and get us the stamp we need in a reasonable amount of time. Breathe a sigh of relief – now we are free to travel around the country again for the next three months.

Jungle Junction again

We are back at the Jungle Junction site in the south of Nairobi. Here we want to do some work on the vehicle, especially replacing the suspension of the water pump, as it is still roaring through the whole vehicle – it may succeed and now we sometimes ask ourselves“you, is the pump even running?

Next to us is a nice couple – he French, she South African. The two are on their way to their brother’s wedding in South Africa and, like us, are using Jungle Junction for maintenance work. We spend a nice evening together with pizza and pasta.

Our MAN also needs a few strokes, such as replacing the oil filter and diesel filter, replacing the oil in the axles and gearbox, lubricating the drive train, carrying out various checks, etc.
We decide to have this work carried out by the official MAN representative in Nairobi – and leave.

We drive to the Kenyan headquarters of a German truck mission on the outskirts of Nairobi. First they say that it is closed due to Corona. However, one of the people in charge, a Swiss national, kindly lets us drive onto the site. He is delighted to receive an unknown visitor from his home country. He is also an extremely likeable guy himself. Not without having had some delicious coffee and cake, we are allowed to stay here for one night.

As we’ve been wanting to take a load off and clear out for a while, we spontaneously give him our travel guitar, two loudspeakers and a heavy trestle for the workshop.
My diesel truck heart beats faster when I see the “old treasures” that the missionaries used to drive from Germany to Africa themselves.
Thank you for your kind hospitality!

MAN Truck & Bus Nairobi

Mr. Macline Oyagi, Aftersales Manager answers our email and invites us to come to MAN Truck & Bus. They would take care of our truck. No sooner said than done. We arrive around midday – earlier is not possible due to the congested roads in Nairobi.
Mr. Macline Oyagi turns out to be WOMAN Macline Oyagi, a professional engineer.

We were strongly warned not to have any work carried out by an official agency (e.g. MAN) and some travelers may have experienced the same:

  • We were not allowed to be present and supervise the repairs, we had to hand in the key, sign for it and would not see the vehicle again for “three months”
  • We couldn’t spend the night there in the vehicle,
  • In the end, more is broken than whole
  • etc…

If we hadn’t been allowed to personally supervise the repairs and service work, we would have simply driven away again. In Africa, personal supervision of the work is a must, even in the best workshop.

But fortunately all the warnings did not materialize for us
– on the contrary. We were very welcome, quickly made contact – and still do today.

First of all, the vehicle is thoroughly checked by the chief mechanic “Daniel” – fortunately, because he finds a leak in the fuel injection pump and one in a brake line. In addition, the air compressor draws oil and should be repaired.
All maintenance work such as checking brakes, topping up axle and transmission oils and much more is carried out reliably and systematically. The employees don’t just stand around but are constantly at work. Very keen to do a good job!

As the work is carried out far more professionally than expected, we decide to have our “light problem” fixed here too. All our lights on the base vehicle work, only the main and high beam lights no longer do. No sooner said than done, the employee who specializes in electrics sets to work with great enthusiasm. But he puts the cart before the horse, starting with the fuses and circuit board rather than the light switch. He removes it from another MAN and installs it in ours – as it still doesn’t work, he now knows that it’s not the circuit board, nor the relay, etc. In the evening he works overtime for us, as a matter of course.
The next Saturday morning, the chief mechanic takes charge of the matter and finds the problem in no time at all. The light switch on the ignition lock is broken. And just in time for lunchtime, our vehicle is reassembled and ready to go. As we don’t want to continue our journey until Monday, we are allowed to stay at the MAN site for two more nights and even fill up with water.
Special thanks go to the head mechanic “Daniel”, the one with the cap, as well as to Madame Macline Oyagi and the other employees. “Daniel and Macline” will stand by us again, but later.

We contact our German MAN representative and order a new air compressor and a new ignition lock in Germany. These parts will be shipped by TNT to Mombasa, where they should arrive before 6 p.m. on April 7. Plenty of time for us to visit Amboseli and Tsavo National Park and take a leisurely drive towards the coast.

Amboseli National Park

Via the A104 and C103 to Amboseli NP

After the repair and maintenance work, we can still stand on the large MAN Truck & Bus site over the weekend. We then set off on a good tarred road (A104) to Namanga on the Tanzanian border. Here the C103 road, which is currently in good condition, turns off to Amboseli National Park. That’s why we manage the 200 km in one day. A few hundred meters before the park entrance, we spend the night at a colourful Masai church belonging to the Samaria Mission and the AIC African Inland Church.)
As soon as we park, two Masai men come up to us and demand a camping fee. Again, of course, with a horrendous price, which we negotiate down tenaciously. We would need a security guard for the night – we agree to this, because for us it is something like “direct development aid” if you can get someone a paid job. No sooner said than done, the young man demands something to eat. We tell him that there won’t be anything to eat until 6 pm.
Finally, we give him a noodle soup, which is available in every supermarket here. But he doesn’t know how to eat pasta and obviously doesn’t like what we offer him, except for the bananas that we give him. For him, it was also an important lesson that the “Mzungu” also have their own or different culture. The Masai traditionally live on the milk and blood of their animals, as well as meat, maize porridge, beans and rice.

Amboseli National Park

Over the next few days we visit Amboseli National Park three times. Because we can camp outside here, the entrance fees and charges are reasonable. The clouds thicken with each passing day, but fortunately there is very little rain during our visit, so we can visit the park without any restrictions.

The inspiring view of Kilimanjaro opens up again and again – you can’t get enough of it. In any case, we enjoy the days in Amboseli National Park and see lots of animals. There are also huge herds of wildebeest grazing around us at a respectful distance. The elephants here usually have more massive tusks than in southern Africa and seem calmer and more peaceful than in the Masai Mara.

Lockdown in Kenya

We set up camp at the simple but beautifully situated community camping site on the edge of Amboseli National Park. We are alone here and enjoying it. Our plan: we’ll be here for the next 10 to 14 days working on our website. As soon as we have spoken the thought, David, the camp manager, stands in front of our vehicle and informs us that Kenya has ordered a lockdown for Nairobi and the neighboring counties. He doesn’t know whether this also applies to us tourists. Either way, Amboseli National Park is part of the lockdown area – unfortunately. Thanks for the information – we don’t take it too seriously.
In the evening, a phone call from fellow travelers. Although they are in Uganda, they are now traveling to Tanzania immediately due to the Kenyan lockdown…. You don’t know what will happen now, where lockdowns are coming. This shakes us up and we learn that we have one more day to drive out of the lockdown area. So off we go – via the A109, the Kenyan road of death known as the “Mombasa Road”, to Tsavo East National Park. Fortunately, there are not so many trucks on the road today, Sunday, and we make good progress.

Tsavo East National Park

We decide to spend two nights at the Ndololo campsite in the national park. During the payment process, a dispute arises between the cashier and me. She really wants to know how much we would have paid for the vehicle in Ambodeli National Park. I didn’t want to give her this information – she should assess the situation herself. A pleasant lady then defuses our dispute and finally we get the same price for the vehicle as a bus with 24 people. We now invite this lady to view our vehicle at the campsite – and she actually comes to visit us the next day and we drink coffee and eat waffles from South Tyrol (Loacker – which you can buy here and there) and have lively conversations. She is very well educated and seems different from other Kenyans. So sensible, so clear-sighted.

Our vehicle is parked so that we have a view “into the bush”. The first “red elephants of Tsavo East” suddenly appear here early in the morning. A spectacle that lasts all morning, but is difficult to photograph because they always disappear behind the next bush.

Kenya’s north coast

We have registered at the “Edelweiss Lodge” in Kikambala, where we can stand in the garden under tropical trees. However, the planned two weeks turn into a little more than four weeks. The Edelweiss Lodge belongs to Hedi from Switzerland and is run together with her partner Ulli from Germany.

Here we relieve our MAN at the rear axle by dismantling our aluminum box at the rear and either giving the contents away or storing them further forward. This also applies to spare parts, the underride guard, etc.
During this time, Dave & Francine from England also visit us with their truck. Dave had contacted us a long time before. The two are now also on their way to southern Africa. Yes, and then you have to fill up the tank and that adds up to quite a lot.


Verena falls ill on Easter Sunday, and a week later I do too. As we are not sure whether it could be malaria, we ask to be transported to the doctor. The cab driver takes us to the “Swiss Cottage Hospital”. This looks alarming to our spoiled eyes. But everything is done professionally. First, our data is entered into the computer, which the doctor then takes over. The blood values are analyzed electronically, the stool sample with a microscope. Conclusion: a normal tropical gastrointestinal disease. An ampoule of antibiotics is injected into the veins, tablets and antibiotics are given – that’s all. The killer medication worked – the next day we were both feeling much better.

TNT and the spare parts

On Our spare parts from Germany should have arrived in Kikambala on April 7. On April 8, a dubious phone call. Calling back, sending WhatsApp and emails is useless. We do not come into contact with TNT Nairobi. In the meantime we are sure that the parts are in Nairobi (instead of Mombasa), but we do not receive another message, nor are phones answered, etc… Desperate situation. The tracking software displays the message that we have been contacted about payment of customs duties, but this was not the case. A little later we receive a message from TNT that the goods will be destroyed at the sender’s request…
Now we are switching on MAN Truck&Bus Nairobi. Macline Oyagi promises to help – and she does, vehemently!
MAN Truck & Bus in Nairobi even paid the customs and clearance fees on our behalf as an advance payment. The agency responsible for customs clearance took 7 days to complete an online form. The handover date was repeatedly postponed, most recently indefinitely. In the end, Macline Oyagi also had to contact the director of MAN Truck & Bus, and lo and behold, the package is finally available.
All in all, it took about 6 weeks to ship the spare parts, although it was in an undefined location in Nairobi for a whole 4 weeks.

Thanks to MAN Truck & Bus in Nairobi and thanks to MAN Truck & Bus in Tuttlingen, who provided us with INTENSIVE support from there.

Kilifi and Malindi

In the garden of the Edelweiss Lodge, we feel cooped up with time. At the same time, the wait for spare parts drags on. We therefore drive north along the north coast for a few days.

First we find shelter at the Mnarani Beach Club, just outside Kilifi, where they are once again delighted that guests are finally back, even if they are not staying in one of the cottages.
After the first really heavy rain of the beginning rainy season has subsided, we drive on to Malindi to the Drift Wood Beach Club. Here we can even park for free in the parking lot, but consumption is expected in the restaurant.

Honestly, we couldn’t imagine vacationing in one of these beach clubs for two weeks. But now we are grateful for the friendly welcome and that we are allowed to spend the night in our vehicle and enjoy the days.

Kenyan south coast

Twiga Lodge

To get to the south coast we have to drive through Mombasa and as this city is known for its hour-long traffic jams, we choose Sunday. Mombasa is located on an island and the only close connection at the moment is the ferry to the southern mainland shore. We actually make good progress. Our next destination is Twiga Lodge, where campers can now actually stand on the beach. We’ve missed that so far and really enjoy our days at the beach.

Here at Twiga Lodge, we can observe the arrival of another low-pressure area in impressive fashion. We therefore set off in good time and drive to Diani Beach.

Diani Beach

In pouring rain we drive to Diani Beach at the
4* Kaskazi Beach Hotel
before. The driveway is covered and so spacious that we can drive in with the MAN.
Yes, we are allowed to stand in the hotel’s bus parking lot. This parking lot is paved and therefore suitable for the repair work to be carried out, as the spare parts have now been released in Nairobi and should be installed in the next few days. As the water taps at the hotel only spit out salt water, the staff organize fresh water in canisters for us. Once again, we are grateful to have a functioning pump with us.


On the evening of April 30, 2021, the chief mechanic “Daniel” is suddenly standing next to us. Although it is only about 1 1/2 hours until sunset, he gets straight to work. On Saturday, May 1, the work continues and by the evening the electrical problem with a position lamp is solved and the compressor is installed.

On Monday, 3 May, we go to the modern and well-organized (private) Diani Beach Hospital for a PCR test.
In the afternoon, we start our MAN and want to go shopping. But unfortunately the gearshift doesn’t work. I can do what I want, I can’t change gear. “Daniel” is now back in Nairobi – but I send him a WhatsApp – his message is quite surprising: he’ll be back with us in the evening! No sooner said than done, he arrives just before dark, takes a look at the situation, comes to the conclusion that our problem must have something to do with the high humidity and fixes the damage in no time at all.

Up and away

On May 5, 2021, we set off for the border, about 80 km away. The border crossing to Tanzania takes a good 2 hours but is well organized and problem-free on both sides.
Farewell to Kenya – although we are looking forward to continuing our journey, it is not that easy to leave a country we have grown fond of and its people. The heat, combined with up to 90% humidity, which has been making us sweat for weeks now, is currently helping, and the daily shower hardly brings any relief. Farewell Kenya!

Previous Post
Next Post

Related Posts

No results found.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.